Trusted answers to developer questions
Trusted Answers to Developer Questions

Related Tags


What are the advantages and disadvantages of using icons in UI?

Sheza Naveed

Icons are an object, idea, or action’s visual representation. Icons must convey meaning and brand image in a graphical user interface (GUI) and be visually appealing. The figure below shows different types of icons on a phone’s home screen.

Different icons

Advantages of icons

Icons help to improve user experience if used in the right manner.

  • Icons are fast to recognize, especially standard icons such as those of email, home, etc.

  • Icons do not need translation for international users if designed carefully by keeping in mind any cultural differences, such as the home icon.

  • They are good targets, as they are designed large enough to be touched by a finger in finger-operated user interfaces, and they can also be clicked using a mouse cursor.

  • Despite being large in size, icons compactly convey information and save space by allowing toolbars and other icons to be displayed on the interface.

  • Icons add to the visual appeal of an interface.

Disadvantages of icons

There are certain downsides to icons, as discussed below:

  • Different icons used for the same purpose on different sites create confusion.

  • Icons without text labels create confusion.

  • Icons with common multiple meanings create confusion, such as the heart icon, which is used for both liking items and adding to a list.

  • Unclear icons create confusion for users.


Icons are an essential part of an interface and help improve user experience. However, a poorly designed icon confuses the users and does more harm than good. The first priority should be to ensure that icons convey meaning and ensure that they are aesthetically pleasing.




Sheza Naveed
Copyright ©2022 Educative, Inc. All rights reserved

View all Courses

Keep Exploring